Things to do in Dumfries and surrounding area
Kippford, the Solway Coast, Dumfries and Galloway have so much to offer to every visitor who comes to stay.
Beaches including Sandyhills for all the family and Castle Point for those who prefer a little seclusion.
For those looking to keep the kids amused there are plenty of places locally to burn off some stored up energy, the Cream O’ Galloway farm and Drumlanrig Castle adventure playground to name a couple.
Birdwatchers have the Rough Island reserve only a short walk along the front at Kippford, easy to reach and lots to see.
Golfers of every ability are catered for with a Championship links course a short drive away or if you fancy introducing the kids to the game a 9 hole par 3 course in Kippford.
Sailing is one of Kippford’s main attractions with the Solway Yacht Club in the village or Loch Ken sports centre a few miles away.
Arts and Crafts in Dumfries
Barnbarroch Pottery Kippford
Workshop and salesroom with a wide variety of ornaments, tableware and other wonderful ceramic products. Great for gifts. Contact: 01556 620 695 http://www.barnbarroch-pottery.com
Rockcliffe Art Gallery Barons Craig, Rockcliffe
The Rockcliffe art gallery is a small friendly gallery located within the Baron’s Craig Hotel. Contact:
01556 630 475 http://www.rockcliffegallery.co.uk
Designs Gallery and Cafe Castle Douglas
Ever changing exhibitions of high quality glass, jewellery, ceramics and other crafts. The shop sells clothing, jewelery, fabrics, & knitwear. Contact: 01556 504 552 http://www.designsgallery.co.uk
The Crows Nest Palnackie
Nautical theme tea room with displays of local arts and crafts to buy. Contact: 01556 600 217
North Glen Glass Palnackie
World famous glass blowing in Palnackie making lamps of unusual and beautiful design. Contact:
01556 600 200 http://www.northglen.co.uk
Beaches in Dumfries and Galloway
Rough Firth Beach Kippford
Sand, shingle and rocks a short walk along the front from Kippford. A great vantage point to watch the sailing.
Rockcliffe Beach Rockcliffe
A small sandy beach with shingle and rocks, great for paddling.
Sandyhills Beach near Colvend
Large sandy beach excellent for sunbathing, picnics and swimming although watch for the currents further out. There is also a café and small shop behind the beach.
Castle Point Beach near Rockcliffe
A sandy beach with rocks and shingle. There is a 1 mile footpath to beach and steep path down to beach. Very secluded tidal beach.
Brighouse Bay Beach near Kirkcudbright 1/4 mile long flat sandy beach with rock pools. Safe for swimming at all stages of the tide. It is close to Brighouse Bay Caravan Park’s numerous activities such as riding, quad biking, mountain bikes, golfing, fishing, swimming pools and tenpin bowling (fees apply).
Carrick Shore Beach near Gatehouse of Fleet
A sandy beach with surrounding rocks.
Dhoon Beach near Kirkcudbright
Very safe, flat and sandy. Tends to be busy in summer, but it is excellent for swimming, and has a well-laid out picnic area and car park.
Mossyard Beach near Gatehouse of Fleet
Very attractive beach with rocky surroundings, one of the best beaches in Dumfries and Galloway.
RSPB Mersehead and other bird watching areas
Dumfries and Galloway is renowned for its bird watching opportunities. During each season it is possible to see a wide variety of birds in their natural habitats.
Rockcliffe and Rough Island Coastal cliffs and heathland including Motte of Mark ancient monument. Rough Island approached by tidal causeway, CAUTION do not attempt to cross when tide is rising, as the incoming sea can be very fast. Rough Island may not be visited during nesting season (May and June). Parking at Rockcliffe beside beach and in main village car park. NT for Scotland Ranger Service 01556 630262
RSPB Mersehead Reserve A very large RSPB reserve. Parking near farm. Viewing hide and Visitor Centre open all the year round. Famous for winter feeding grounds of migrating geese and other wildfowl. Contact 01387 780298 http://www.rspb.org.uk
Castle Loch The largest freshwater loch in Dumfriesshire situated in the south eastern part of Lochmaben. It is renowned world wide for the roosting Pink-footed Geese. Other important visitors are Greylag Geese and Goosanders. There are footpaths, information boards, leaflets, a ranger service and one hide at the southeast end of the loch, accessed from Lochmaben Castle (not suitable for wheelchairs). Contact D&G Council Ranger Service 01387 260184
Wigtown Bay This area of coastal wetland is located on the eastern side of the Machars, about four miles south of Newton Stewart. It is the largest Local Nature Reserve in Britain. It serves as a bird sanctuary and has a Ranger service. Contact 01988-402401 or 01988 402673 for the Ranger. http://www.dgcommunity.net/wblnr
Loch Ken – Dee Marshes Set in grassy marshland with birch, alder and blackthorn scrub beside Loch Ken reservoir in the Dee valley. Waterfowl and wading birds can be seen from the hide. Parking at Mains of Duchrae, half a mile from the hide. Free. Donations box. Dumfries and Galloway Council Ranger 01556 502351
Eating out in Dumfries and Galloway
Balcary Bay Hotel Restaurant
The hotel is located in a beautiful, secluded spot right on the water’s edge. They offer morning coffee, afternoon and evening meals. Contact: 01556 640 217 www.balcary-bay-hotel.co.uk
Designs Gallery and Café
In Castle Douglas this café is South Western Scotland’s leading gallery for the arts and crafts with a café serving great food cooked on the premises. There is also a walled garden. Contact: 01556 504552. www.designsgallery.co.uk
Cream o’ Galloway
On a farm outside Gatehouse of Fleet this tearoom offers wholesome, homemade meals featuring their home-produced organic beef. You can sample delicious ice-creams whilst looking out over the farm and surrounding land. Contact: 01557 814040 www.creamogalloway.co.uk
The restaurant boasts an AA Rosette and serves local Galloway produce including wild Solway salmon. The conservatory or cocktail bar are a great place to relax. Snacks and refreshments are served throughout the day. Contact: 01557 814341 www.callypalace.co.uk
Benvenuto Pizzeria Trattoria
This friendly family run restaurant in Dumfries is very popular with families. It specialises in seafood, steaks, pizza and pasta. The log fired oven is a great central feature, and a happy hour operates nightly from 5pm – 6.30pm with greatly reduced prices on pizza and pasta. Contact: 01387 259890
Things to do in Dumfries and Galloway
Cream o’ Galloway
This farm at Rainton not far from Gatehouse of Fleet has much to offer, a fantastic adventure playground, covered play barn, family bike tracks, cycle hire, nature trails and farm tours. The tea-room offers tasty homemade snacks and the shop offers delicious ice creams. Contact: 01557 814040 www.creamogalloway.co.uk
Dalton Pottery Art Café
Have fun painting a pot, holiday souvenir or personalised gift at Dalton Pottery near Lockerbie. Paint your pot and take it home less than an hour later. The café serves home baking, cappuccinos and freshly prepared lunches, there is also an outside play park. Admission is free, the Pottery is open daily from 10am-5pm. Contact: 01387 840236 www.daltonpottery.co.uk
Drumlanrig Castle and Country Park
Drumlanrig has something for everyone; mountain biking, wildlife watching, Victorian gardens, craft workshops. An adventure playground, Landrover tours and falconry experience. Drumlanrig has lots of things to do. Contact: 01848 331555 www.drumlanrig.com
Galloway Wildlife Conservation Park
Galloway Wildlife Park is the wild animal conservation centre for Southern Scotland. It has a world wide collection of over 150 animals all of whom can be seen in their natural settings. Contact: 01557 331645 www.gallowaywildlife.co.uk
Lochhill Trekking and Equestrian Centre
Lochhill is a BHS and TRSS registered trekking and riding school and is in the middle of the Galloway countryside making it a lovely scenic place for any rider. Contact: 01557 820225 www.lochhill.net
Loch Ken, New Galloway
A 10 mile long loch with lots of activities: water-skiing, powerboating, sailing, windsurfing, rowing, canoeing, fishing and walking. Families welcome, all abilities are catered for. One of the best inland watersports locations in Dumfries and Galloway. Contact: 07050 092792 www.skilochken.co.uk
Mabie Farm Park
A fun day out for all the family come rain or shine. Animals, quadbikes, astroslide, grass sledging, indoor playarea, paddle boats and much more. The tearoom serves tasty snacks and ice cream and there is a shop as well. Contact: 01387 2596666. www.mabiefarm.co.uk
Neverland Adventure Playcentre
This children’s adventure play centre is based on the story of Peter Pan and is for children up to the age of 10 years old. There are slides, tree houses and a pirate ship. Open all year round Mon-Sun 10am-5pm. Contact: 01387 249100
Fishing in Dumfries and Galloway
Buittle Reservoir Dalbeattie
The reservoir is 3 miles from Dalbeattie and is controlled by Dalbeattie Angling Association. The site is spread over 25 acres and is stocked regularly with rainbow trout and has a population of wild brown trout. Tickets are about £15 for adults and £7.50 for children for a 3 fish limit. The reservoir is fly only. Tickets are available from McCowans 01556 502009 or 01556 610270 open 9am- 5pm Mon-Sat.
Dalbeattie Angling Association
The DAA has 3.5 miles of the lower Urr. The lower beat is tidal with nine named pools whereas the upper beat Firthhead has pools, glides and runs and is ideal fly water. Daily and weekly visitor tickets are available throughout the season, though in Oct/Nov the number of visitor tickets is limited to 10. A map with beat boundaries, pool locations and parking areas is provided with the ticket. Tickets are available from McCowans 01556 502009 or 01556 610270 open 9am- 5pm Mon-Sat.
The loch is in the centre of Castle Douglas and there is free coarse fishing for pike and perch.
Situated just outside Annan which is approx 15 miles south east of Dumfries. There are three two acre Fly Only Lochs and a further two 1.5 acre lochs. They are well stocked with Rainbows, Browns And Golden trout ranging from approx 2lbs to 20lbs plus. The fishery is set in beautiful surroundings and offers naturalised waters with prolific life forms, ideal for dry fly, nymph and all natural patterns. One of the best places for fishing in Dumfries and Galloway and is flanked with woodland offering seclusion from the other fishing venues. Contact: The Lodge, Broom Farm Estate, Annan. 01461-700209 or 07850-157688. http://www.broomfisheries.co.uk
Castle Douglas Angling Association CDAA
There are over 5 miles of middle reaches of the River Urr, starting at Steep End and finishing at Grange Water for the visiting angler. The river offers many pools and a map is available with map names from ticket outlets. For tickets contact Tommys Sports 01556 502851
Gardens around Kippford
Arbigland House and Gardens Kirkbean
The family home of the Blacketts has an extensive estate and gardens. The gardens open during the summer, house open on limited occasions. Phone for dates and times. Contact: 01387 880283
Barrhill is north of Newton Stewart off the B7027 and has a lovely collection of culinary, medicinal and aromatic herbs. With many rare species it is perfect for the enthusiast looking for something more unusual. Phone for dates and times. Contact: 01465 821338 http://www.barwinnock.com
Broughton House and Garden
The National Trust of Scotland run Broughton house, an 18th century town house in Kirkcudbright. The house features an art gallery, studio, library, exhibition room and shop. The garden is small but peaceful and designed with Japenese influences. Open house and garden. Phone for info. Contact 01557 330437 http://www.nts.org.uk
The Cally Gardens are just outside Gatehouse of Fleet. Follow the signs from the Cally Palace Hotel entrance to the specialist nursery and labeled plant collection of over 3,500 varieties in the C18th walled garden that is surrounded by the Cally oak woods. There are many pot grown plants available. Phone for dates and times. Contact 01557 815029 http://www.callygardens.co.uk
The Crichton Grounds
The beautiful grounds cover 34 hectares around the Crichton Memorial Church, 1 mile south of Dumfries. The landscaped grounds include mature rhododendrons, azaleas and many specimen trees. There is a large rock garden, waterfall and ornamental pond. All welcome. Open all year. Contact 01387 247544 http://www.crichton.org.uk
Drumlanrig Castle Gardens and Country Park
Drumlanrig Castle Gardens has extensive formal landscaped gardens on an impressive scale, there are large parterres planted with roses, topiary and summer bedding. The woodland gardens are filled with Rhododenrons, Azaleas, rare conifers and specimen trees. There is also a Victorian greenhouse, vegetable garden and plant centre.
Phone for dates and times. Contact 01848 331555 http://www.drumlanrig.com
Dumfries and Galloway Golf Courses
Enjoy one or more of the 29 Golf courses that Dumfries and Galloway have to offer. Forget all about crowded fairways and simply enjoy a more relaxed affair.
Southerness Golf Club
18-hole Championship Links Course. SSS-72. (16 miles south of Dumfries off A710 near Southerness village.) Contact: 01387 880677
Craigieknowes Golf Course
9-hole Parkland on hill slopes (Barnbarroch Farm, top of the hill in Kippford.) Contact: 01556 620244
Colvend Golf Club
18-hole Rolling parkland. SSS-66. (Off the A710 between Sandyhills and Colvend.) Contact: 01556 630398
Dalbeattie Golf Club
9-hole Parkland. (Signposted from A794 Haugh of Urr Road.) Contact: 01556 611421
Dumfries and County Golf Club
18-hole Fairly level parkland. SSS-68. (1 mile west of Dumfries town centre.) Contact: 01387 253585
Kirkcudbright Golf Club
18-hole Gently sloping parkland. SSS-69. (Half mile North of Kirkcudbright town centre on the A711.) Contact: 01557 330314
7Stanes locations near Kippford
The 7Stanes are 7 mountain bike locations run by the Forestry Commission. Allonby Holiday Cottage is ideally located as a base for mountain bikers looking to experience the Stanes. The Cottage includes off-road bike parking behind a secure gate with a tap and hose within easy reach. The Anchor pub is only four doors away from Allonby, great for evening meals after a long day.
7Stanes Dalbeattie 2 miles from Kippford. Amazing rocky trails including; Green grade Ironhash trail – easy riding through forest roads. Blue • grade Moyle Hill – a single track of forest track and rock. Red • grade (with Black • grade sections) Hardrock trail – more challenging trail with more rocky sections, the Black • grade sections include The Slab, Volunteer Ridge, and The Terrible Twins.
7Stanes Mabie 14 miles from Kippford. The first of the Stanes offers single track trails from Green • to Black • grades including; Big Views Loop and Blue • grade Woodhead Loop. A skills area lets you test out your techniques on Blue • and Red • features before venturing out onto the main runs. Red • grade Phoenix Trail – a great ride through woodland senery, a mix of hard uphill sections, fast downhills, water runs some jumps and loads of sweeping corners. Black •grade Dark side – insane raised “North Shore” wooden sections and granite outcrops for the skilled only.
7Stanes Ae 30 miles from Kippford. Ae, Scotland’s shortest village name is only 20 minutes from the M74 motorway in Dumfries and Galloway, with a superb variety of green, blue and red graded trails, an extreme rated downhill section, skills area plus a bike shop and great cafe you could not want for more at Ae.
7Stanes Kirroughtree 38 miles from Kippford. Kirroughtree home to some of the best technical singletrack in the country. Also a favourite family venue with a wide range of trails, seasonal cafe and a great children?s play area.
7Stanes Glentrool Great scenery with trails set-up for fun and families. A mix of road tracks and forest trials.
7Stanes Glentress & Innerleithen A huge range of trails covering all abilities from, beginners sections to get you going to the stunning V trail which starts with a huge climb going on to “North Shore” raised wooden sections ending in a tough downhill run.
7Stanes Newcastleton Trials for everyone and all abilities. It’s runs are shorter than other 7Stanes locations.
Museums in Dumfries and Galloway
8 miles south of Dumfries in the village of new Abbey lie the remains of a late c13th and early c14th Cistercian abbey founded by Devorgilla, Lady of Galloway in memory of her husband John Balliol. 01387 850397 www.historic-scotland.gov.uk
The National Trust of Scotland care for Motte of Mark a site of an ancient hill-fort, Rough Island a bird sanctuary, Muckle Lands and the Jubilee Path a beautiful coastal walk between Rockcliffe and Kippford. Ranger Service Contact: 01556 503702 www.nts.org.uk
Creetown Gem Rock Museum
A wonderful collection of gems, crystals, rocks and fossils from around the world. Exhibitions, a gift shop, professors study and lapidary workshop. Contact: 01671 820357 www.gemrock.net
The Observatory was originally an astronomical instrument installed in 1836. Situated on the top floor of the windmill tower in Rotchell Road, Dumfries the Camera Obscura offers fascinating panoramic views over the town. Viewings are very weather dependent. Contact: 01387 253374 www.dumgal.gov.uk/museums
National Museum of Costume
Shambellie House is home to a wonderful collection of fashion dating from the Victorian times to the 1950’s. The country house is set in beautiful wooded grounds. There are children’s workshops, a well stocked gift shop. One of the best museums in Dumfries and Galloway. Contact: 01387 850357 www.nms.ac.uk
Walking in Dumfries and Galloway
With so many walking routes you will be spoilt for choice in Dumfries and Galloway, whether you are wanting a gentle stroll or a more strenuous yomp there is a walk out there for you. Rugged hikes, ambles along the sea-shore or wanders through the forests, they are all out there waiting to be explored…
The Southern Upland Way
This walk is for those who like to push themselves to the limit. Scotland’s longest and most challenging walking route, the Southern Upland Way, crosses Dumfries and Galloway’s breadth. Spanning some of the most breath taking scenery in Scotland it has many rewards for those who take up it’s challenge.
Kirkconnel Path Network
45 miles north west of Dumfries are a network of walks ranging from 1 mile to a new 15 mile Geology Trail from Kirkconnel to Wanlockhead. Stunning views over the Nithsdale Hills and the 9th century St Conal’s kirkyard. Contact: 01659 66002. www.kirkconnel.org
Drumlanrig Castle and Country Park
There are four marked walks ranging from 1 mile to 4 miles around the Drumlanrig Country Park. Enjoy views of lochs, bubbling burns and the rolling Lowther Hills. A full days walking can be enjoyed within some of the finest countryside in Scotland. Contact: 01848 331555 www.drumlanrig.com
Watersports in Dumfries and Galloway
Water, water everywhere, whether it’s swimming in the sea, water-skiing, kayaking or sailing there are plenty of options to choose from in the area…
Dumfries Swimming Pool
Swimming pool, flume, sauna and steam room. Contact: 01387 252908
Galloway Sailing Centre
The Galloway Sailing Centre offers watersports tuition and hire from beginner to advanced levels. Contact: 01644 420626 www.lochken.co.uk
The pontoon provides shore access for both visiting yachts and permanent moorings, CCTV, power water and shower facilities. Contact: 01557 331135 www.kirkcudbright.co.uk/visiting/marina.htm
The Solway Yacht Club
The Yacht Club was established in 1904 and is situated in the village of Kippford. The club has drying out pontoon berths available and you can also become a temporary member in order to use all the clubs facilities. Contact: 01556 620312 www.thesyc.com